The first comprehensive study about sexual attitudes, behaviors and problems among older Americans found that many men and women remain sexually active well into their 70s and 80s. Health status, not age, was more important in predicting sexual activity.

The study of older Americans age 57 to 85 was conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (here’s the full press release [PDF]) and is presented in the Aug. 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (the abstract is available for free).

"There’s a popular perception that older people aren’t as interested in sex as younger people," Stacy Tessler Lindau of the University of Chicago, who led the study, told the Washington Post. "Our study shows that’s simply not true. Older people value sexuality as an important part of life."

The survey was based on face-to-face interviews with a randomly selected sample of 3,005 Americans from July 2005 to March 2006. The response rate was 75 percent, which researchers said was unusually high.

"We found people to be grateful to have an opportunity to discuss these issues," said Lindau. "The topics we were asking about resonated with people. Many said they had never had a chance to talk to anyone about these issues, not even a spouse or their physicians."

Indeed, one of the key finding was that few older Americans talk to their doctors
about sexual problems and women talk to their doctors about sex less frequently
than men.

We’ll have more on this study in a future post.

"Do we need more magazines like More magazine?" asks Mackenzie Carpenter of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in this story on More’s success and the possibility of Martha Stewart going after the same 40-plus demographic.

"Few women were the subject of cover stories in the major news and business magazines in 2006, based on my first annual ‘Women and Major Magazines Cover Stories Monitor,’" writes Beverly Wettenstein at the Huffington Post. "As a journalist and media monitor, I had noticed the deficit of women as magazines cover stories subjects. But I decided to seriously analyze the publications, following a visit with my five-year-old nephew, to a news store. He immediately identified magazines and videos for ‘boys’ or ‘girls,’ based solely on the cover photo or image."

Journalist Kristal Brent Zook, author of "Black Women’s Lives: Stories of Power and Pain," writes about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s talk before the National Association for Black Journalists and the moment when Clinton impressed the crowd with her bluntness. "So is she black enough?" asks Zook.

"As [Michelle Obama] crisscrosses the country on behalf of husband, Barack, Obama reaches out to and embodies a new generation of American women — those much-studied multitaskers who hope to change the workplace but, in the process, inspire headlines like ‘Damned or Doomed,’ ‘Opt Out or Pushed Out,’ ‘One Sick Child Away From Being Fired,’" reports the L.A. Times.

Christine

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  • Katie August 23, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    I think it’s great that as you get older you lose your inhibitions about discussing sex.
    I know sex surveys traditionally have problems with people’s reluctance and their just plain lying. It would be fascinating to survey the same people in their 20s and then later in life — and see how honest they were the first time!

    Reply